Jamie, Jamie, Jamie… will he ever learn? After calling for his father’s impeachment in Yellowstone’s midseason finale, the black sheep of the Dutton family tried to declare the war won, only to have twisted sister Beth inform him — with a rock to the head, no less — that they hadn’t yet even waged so much as a battle. There can be no doubt that she’d happily send him to the train station when the series returns this summer with the back half of Season 5. But would he really do the same to her? Here to discuss this gravest of matters with TVLine is none other than Wes Bentley.
TVLINE | Jamie and Beth are now both actively plotting to murder each other. Is it safe to say that at this point, something’s gotta give?
My guess would be yeah. Because Jamie thinks in moves, right? He’s a chess player. He thinks ahead and thinks it through 100 times. So he knows by making an impeachment move, he’s putting his life at risk. And it’s confirmed when he says to Beth, “It’s over,” and she replies, “No, Jamie, it’s not.” [In his mind, it’s like,] “Oh, well, there’s my cue! They’re going to try and kill me, I have to try and kill them.” It feels inevitable that even on a cold, calculated level, that has to play out. But on an emotional level, I think Jamie is there, too. His hatred for her is matching, or near matching, her hatred for him, thanks to what she forced him to do with killing his [biological] father. He really isn’t anything near the man he would be without all this, so I think he’s broken to the degree that he’s full of hate and revenge now, too.
TVLINE | Obviously, Jamie isn’t a Beth fan, but I get the sense that he would have liked to have had a relationship with her if she’d ever have allowed it.
I absolutely, 100-percent think he wanted to resolve the pain between them. He wanted to end it as much as it seemed maybe she did, too. There was always something behind [Kelly Reilly’s] performances that made me think that maybe Beth had some love there still, but hate and pain overrides that. I never found that Jamie had that same feeling about her. He just wanted this thing to be over and for them to give him some of his due. But it’s become clear to him over Season 4 and now 5 that there is nothing there from her for him, and that adds to his return of that feeling to her. Now it’s all dangerous because of it. It’s very bleak! [Laughs]
TVLINE | Although Jamie seemed pretty close to murder after Beth threatened his son…
That’s a good point. Having not done an interview in a while, I forget to mention that, but yeah, that is actually the moment of breaking for Jamie. He didn’t know [Garrett] that well and did see him as a danger because of what he did, so he felt like [his murder] was somewhat necessary. But that moment at the side of the road [when Beth makes her threat] is the breaking point, because that’s about his son, who he does care about. He does see a future for his son, although he doesn’t see one for himself anymore. For her to threaten a child, his child… this is sickness beyond belief. And if she’s willing to do that, of course she’s willing to kill Jamie! It’s a moment of clarity for him. And it looks as if he’s going to do it for a minute there, but he swerves and misses her.
TVLINE | Yeah, viewers had a pretty visceral reaction to that.
TVLINE | I’d like to get your interpretation of a line. When Sarah said to Jamie, “If you’re gonna go after Beth, you just might… maybe… you know… ” was the “you know” eliminating John as well?
Yeah. It’s John and her. They’re the targets… the actual danger. Both have to go, because you can’t take one without the other. Jamie’s agreeing that’s the move. He always suspected, but it was revealed through that fight [with Beth] that that was what was going to have to happen now.
TVLINE | I know people like to hate on Jamie, but he’s always seemed like a sad character to me. He’d have relationships with these people if they’d just let him. I know he’s a screw-up, but c’mon.
Yeah, and is he a screw-up because he’s a screw-up, or is it because he’s not the person he’s supposed to be, so of course he’s going to make terrible decisions? He’s getting nothing by being this pretend Jamie, this lawyer version of [himself]. The only joy he could have is the power that might come from it, and they’re not going to give him that. So yeah, that’s a definite issue. That’s why he messes up and does the things he does. He doesn’t want to be in this world, he just wants to be one of the cowboys taking care of the ranch, traditionally, like everybody else gets to do. Someone else could do this stuff, and he could just be taking care of the land in that way. It’s not always vindictiveness [that drives him], it’s that he thinks he’s owed, and sometimes you have to go out and get it. That’s his way of going out and getting it, I guess! [Laughs]
TVLINE | It would be rough, spending your life becoming the monster someone wants you to be, only to have them say, “Nah, turns out I don’t like or even want this monster.”
Right? At some point, you break. You take what you’re gonna get. He’s seen everyone else take, anyway. This land was taken to begin with, right? “You took this land, now it’s my turn to take it.” He’s getting combative instead of trying to make deals and compromises and work out a way that [the Duttons] still have money and don’t get taken for it. It’s a sloppy mess, but it’s a mess they made.
TVLINE | How would you describe Sarah’s impact on Jamie?
She’s very attractive to him, and I don’t just mean physically. Obviously, she’s physically attractive, but her cool and her understanding of the level she’s at seems more in tune with who Jamie is now and the world he’s meant for, so he’s tapping into that. But as a man who’s been used for 30 years, he knows when he’s being used. So he knows [Sarah’s associates are] going to use him, and it’s smart of them to do so. [His thinking is,] “OK, what can I get out of it, too, aside from this relationship? Because I need protection.” We’re playing a dangerous game here.